Friday, March 9, 2018

Paris Saint‑Germain Loses Their Hopes

Farewell then, Paris, a group that for all its vaulting ambition never does seem to get beyond the spring. On a gripping, relentlessly noisy night in the Parc des Princes second-half goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and Casemiro were sufficient to extinguish once more Paris Saint‑Germain’s hopes of making it into the late stages of the Champions League. But the simplicity of Real Madrid’s ultimate victory speaks volumes not only for their winner poise but for the problem of combining dreams of European dominance with the room-temperature French league.


PSG had won their past four matches because of that first leg in Madrid, with an aggregate score of 13-2. This, however, was something else as Madrid pranced about from the beginning with an alluring sure-footedness. As he does away from home, Ronaldo led his team on from the front, unveiling a couple of additional tricks and flicks, puffing out his chest. Unai Emery will fear for his future out of here. By the end, his group of plastic galácticos was down to ten men and if not quite in disarray, then tamed much too readily. agen sbobet terpercaya

As the Parc des Princes was a booming, boisterous concrete cavern before kick-off, bouncing with this familiar Parisian surge of sound. It’s a paradox of the cartoonishly inflated club which it has kept an authentically passionate core, both ends keeping up a constant wall of sound throughout this game. Soccer is a thing that is resilient. You can not kill the soul. Read the enormous red plastic banner unfurled before kick‑off, and even without Neymar, Unai Emery could field a team filled up with attacking talent. There’s something unnaturally unfortunate about spending230m on a single footballer basically just so that he can play in this game, only to lose him to a broken foot per week ahead.

For Madrid, there was a moment of vertigo prior to the beginning with the information that Toni Kroos and Luka Modric had failed to make the starting 11. Lucas Vázquez and Mateo Kovacic came in, tipping the scales towards the hosts concerning paper-value galáctico power. And thus goliath fulfilled goliath, new cash met old, a group supercharged around imported talent to glorify a self-regarding regime facing one constructed to perform precisely the same in the 21st century. PSG started with some goal. From the early exchanges, the spidery Adrien Rabiot specifically managed to bounce his way through the clinches.


Ronaldo may move less nowadays, may be quickly becoming a sort of CR7-tribute, his very own toned and tanned waxwork, but he remains a mercilessly imposing figure, coming into this match with 14 goals in his previous eight games. Rather Ronaldo received only a ticking‑off. The privileges of intense celebrity are numerous. Otherwise, Madrid did settle like winners. With 20 minutes gone a spell of persistent white-shirted pressure resulted in a corner, where Sergio Ramos compelled the first real save of the night from Alphonse Areola.

If PSG lacked a spark they also lacked precision in their set pieces, another vital part of Neymar’s game which was missing here. Benzema should have scored five minutes before, scampering through on goal after dropping the proper side of the PSG defense. Areola saved his shot. But he must have buried it. Six minutes after the break Ronaldo was given time and space to kill the tie with a goal made by some superb work from Marco Asensio. His flip and reverse pass put Vázquez in distance. The cross was perfect for Ronaldo to nod and hang beyond Areola for his 22nd goal in his previous 13 games in this contest.

Edinson Cavani equalized at the night, deflecting the ball home following a scramble and sparking another outbreak of red flares before the match faded to a close following Casemiro’s winner. As Madrid march to the past eight the fascination with PSG’s efforts to conquer European club soccer will remain. Maybe in the months to come the temptation will be there to ask what’s the point of the club in its present condition, refashioned as the de facto Qatari embassy in Europe. Deprived of a place among the European elite that the whole project starts to appear ludicrous, a club whose outstanding achievement so far is to make Real Madrid seem like a paragon of egalitarian sporting merit; not to mention a winning team that for all its gathering cobwebs will take some stopping out of here.

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